Lipid sensing by mTOR complexes via de novo synthesis of phosphatidic acid

Deepak Menon, Darin Salloum, Elyssa Bernfeld, Elizabeth Gorodetsky, Alla Akselrod, Maria A. Frias, Jessica Sudderth, Pei Hsuan Chen, Ralph DeBerardinis, David A. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


mTOR, the mammalian target of rapamycin, integrates growth factor and nutrient signals to promote a transformation from catabolic to anabolic metabolism, cell growth, and cell cycle progression. Phosphatidic acid (PA) interacts with the FK506-binding protein-12-rapamycin-binding (FRB) domain of mTOR, which stabilizes both mTOR complexes: mTORC1 and mTORC2. We report here that mTORC1 and mTORC2 are activated in response to exogenously supplied fatty acids via the de novo synthesis of PA, a central metabolite for membrane phospholipid biosynthesis. We examined the impact of exogenously supplied fatty acids on mTOR in KRas-driven cancer cells, which are programmed to utilize exogenous lipids. The induction of mTOR by oleic acid was dependent upon the enzymes responsible for de novo synthesis of PA. Suppression of the de novo synthesis of PA resulted in G1 cell cycle arrest. Although it has long been appreciated that mTOR is a sensor of amino acids and glucose, this study reveals that mTOR also senses the presence of lipids via production of PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6303-6311
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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